How to analyze this question:

What time is it?

my question is: What is the original sentence that forms the above question?

let's say:

the time is 7:00 o'clock.

then Yes/No question should be:

Is the time 7:00 o'clock?

if we want to ask about object, so the question should be:

What is the time?

  • "so the question should be"? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Obviously you know that both are used. I suppose it depends on local preference.
    – Hector von
    Mar 14, 2017 at 18:42
  • 3
    Actually, the "original sentence" is usually "It is seven o'clock."
    – stangdon
    Mar 14, 2017 at 18:43
  • 6
    Both What time is it? and What is the time? are correct and used interchangeably.
    – Davo
    Mar 14, 2017 at 18:43
  • 1
    You ask a lot of questions, but since you answer them, I actually wonder what you actually want to know.
    – None
    Mar 14, 2017 at 18:46
  • 1
    @Shannak - That's a good question. I'm not sure if it's a dummy it or not, because you could also say "The time is..." so maybe it refers to "the time".
    – stangdon
    Mar 15, 2017 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


Both are correct. The latter uses time as object, "What is the time" implies the time could be something. Whereas, "What time is it", ask for time as the property of an object, e.g. the clock (not to say the time). That would be an adverbial objective, to be precise.

  • Don't forget that people mostly shorten it to "What's the time?" to ask for the current hour and minute. Aug 6, 2017 at 10:34

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